Corey Brown: The day Berisha broke my jaw
Sprawled on the AAMI Park turf writhing in pain with a broken jaw is the first thing that comes to Corey Brown’s mind when he thinks about lining up against Besart Berisha this Saturday night.
Brown’s Melbourne Victory are hosting Berisha’s Western United in what should be a feisty Melbourne Derby at Marvel Stadium.
The clash sees Berisha go up against the club where he is still regarded a club legend for his four seasons there where he scored 68 goals, won two Championships, a Premiership and an FFA Cup.
But Brown’s lasting memory of Berisha’s time at Victory came in a Semi Final in 2017, when the left-back was playing for Brisbane Roar.
With scores level heading into the final 15 minutes, Berisha scored with a towering header that delivered a killer blow to Roar’s – and Brown’s – season.
“It’s actually a funny story… he broke my jaw in that game. He scored the winner, went up with an elbow caught me on the jaw," Brown recalled to www.a-league.com.au.
“For the next week that’s all they showed was Bes’ goal leading up to the Grand Final and you can just see me in the background with a broken jaw.
“That was fun.”
But Brown also has fond memories of the 34-year-old, having been teammates together at Roar from 2011-2014.
Berisha’s winning mentality and fierce determination really struck the young left-back, as Roar won a couple of Hyundai A-League titles over that time.
“He’s the ultimate competitor. Even though he’s getting on with age he’ll still be very competitive and very good,” Brown said of Berisha.
“He’s a fiery character no matter who we were playing.
“I think he’ll be very fired up for when he plays [Victory]. He has a lot of love for this club. It will be very emotional for him and he’ll want to come out on top, no doubt.”
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Victory stalwart Leigh Broxham is another who knows all about Berisha and expects him to be hungry to perform against his former club.
“He wants to win games and score goals and in football that’s not a bad attribute to have, so no doubt he’ll be the same,” Broxham said.
“I think there’s no bad blood when he left here so it won’t be a revenge win or anything like that. [But] He was the definition of hungry eyes, he wants to win every game that he plays in.
“There’ll be no special wanting to win any more [than normal] because he wants to win every game that he plays in, no doubt it will be the same against us.”
Lawrence Thomas is delighted to see Berisha back in the Hyundai A-League and believes his move to the competition newcomers adds another dimension to the rivalry in Melbourne.
But that admiration for his former teammate will be put to the side on Saturday night as Victory chase back-to-back wins.
“It’s great to see him back but I have to keep a few goals out from him,” Thomas said.
“He’s obviously achieved a lot in the game and won a lot of trophies. You do that from something you have inside yourself and I think everyone sees how passionate he is from his performances.
“Regardless of who he is playing, he’ll always give 1000% for the jersey he is wearing.”
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